Uninsured Americans: 86.7 million

Study finds third of Americans under 65 had no health insurance at some point in the past two years. 'Worse than an epidemic,' says health advocacy group head.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Jennifer Pifer-Bixler, CNN Senior Medial Producer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- One out of three Americans under 65 went without health insurance at some point during 2007 and 2008, according to a report released Wednesday.

The study, commissioned by the consumer health advocacy group Families USA, found 86.7 million Americans were uninsured for at least a portion of those two years.

Among the report's key findings:

  • Nearly three out of four of those uninsured Americans were without health insurance for at least six months.
  • Almost two-thirds of them were uninsured for nine months or more.
  • Four out of five of the uninsured were in working families.
  • People without health insurance are less likely to have a usual doctor and often go without screenings or preventative care.

"The huge number of people without health coverage is worse than an epidemic," Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said in a news release. "Inaction on health care reform in 2009 cannot be an option for the tens of millions of people who lack or lose health coverage each year. ... The cost of doing nothing is too high."

The study came out the day before President Barack Obama plans to hold a health care summit at the White House. The president says reforming health care is one of his top priorities.

The number of Americans without health insurance reported by Families USA is much higher than the number reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the census numbers, in 2007 there were 45.7 million uninsured Americans.

Families USA says that number tells only part of the story because the Census Bureau counts only people who were uninsured for the full calendar year.

For its own study, Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to analyze data from the Census Bureau and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Its study includes people who did not have health insurance for any part of the past two years.

But critics say the Families USA report is misleading. Among them is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who advised Sen. John McCain on domestic and economic policy during the 2008 election.

"No one disagrees we have a problem with the uninsured," Holtz-Eakin said, but he added that he thinks Families USA is using a cherry-picked number to make a political point the day before the White House summit.

"They are simply choosing to report over a two-year window a measure that always gives you a larger number," he said. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
These 10 food trends could dominate 2015 So long, kale. Here's what's expected to shake up the food industry next year. More
Beyond Russia: Geopolitical hot spots in 2015 Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More
20 antique guns that fetched big bucks Morphy Auctions in Pennsylvania put nearly 1,000 old guns on the block. Here are just a few. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.